Monday, April 20, 2015

American Beauty 1999

This is a sad, philosophical, poetic, brilliant comedy capturing life in suburban US. It sympathetically satires with wistful relish the concerns and dreams of our daily life; jobs, money, property, automobiles,the desire to escape the treadmill, the starvation of interhumaness. The hero does break out of it, entering, so to say, one more groove till finally the curtains pull apart, revealing the make believe, and he flies up to a vaster view of reality. Even his death mask is a sardonic grin. It can be enjoyed more than once, so light is the touch, so sparkling and witty the lines,  the episodes deft and so skillfully woven.
To quote the concluding lines:
I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die, First of all......that one second isn't a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp watching falling stars. And yellow leaves from th maple trees that lined our street……I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to rela and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitudefor every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure But don't worry.You will someday

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Selma 2014

Selma has got the movie it deserves. This is a film with energy, momentum and exuberance as it captures one of the rare slices of history in which the flame of the spirit burns, when right confronts might. The central image is of police batons raining blows and cracking skulls, as the people march.  It is a naked face of brutality, power at it's most corrupt. Its hard to watch, and inevitably brings to mind a similar sequence from Attenborough's film. This is a riveting movie--a must see.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Au Hasard Balthasar 1966

This film enters the soul of an animal, in this case an unfortunate beast of burden. This reminds me of Rembrandt's Balaam's Ass or even Guernica. What would a donkey have to say, its life one of harsh labor and punishment. Some of the other characters in the film share an element of the animal experience, being trapped in a cruel destiny. We have much in common with animals, we live in the same space, more so in times of war, famine, poverty and despotism. Not least among the attractions is the blending with Schubert.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mouchette 1961

Someone says "Our hearts have been bombed out." Mouchette, for a variety of reasons, is outcasted from the people around her. She cannot even voice her feelings, her throttled tears breaking through to pour soundlessly. People don't care, like Breughal's picture of Calvary. Society is a cruel place. The dying mother, a wailing infant, an abusive father, not a friend, rejection, isolation. This is about the the disconnect, the gulf, the chasm, the spiritual void, the fractured heart, which is the reality of life. Finally, what a wrenching disengagement from the world, rolling down the slope, still reluctant, success after three times, The style is terse and the movie moves swiftly through it's 77 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boyhood 2014

This beautiful and humane film examines life in contemporary US through the experience of Mason, a boy, tracing his life from early boyhood to late teens. The milieu is the ever changing present: the re-definition of family structures, sexual behaviors, livelihood and education. I gleened incidentl;y that the US must be one of the most favorable environments for the young to grow up in, with its patches of unrolling greenery, and vast educational opportunities. Nevertheless, economic hardship is a prime challenge faced by the characters, and happiness is as elusive as elsewhere.The strength of the movie is in the eternal unchanged aspects of existence, the transience of things, the failure to discover meaning, and finally, the enigma of looming death. By all means, outstanding.